Freedom and Data (was Gender, Representativeness and Reputation in StackOverflow)

rusi rustompmody at
Tue Jul 24 05:56:25 CEST 2012

On Jul 24, 7:51 am, Devin Jeanpierre <jeanpierr... at> wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 9:30 PM, Steven D'Aprano
> <steve+comp.lang.pyt... at> wrote:
> >> Leaving aside the point that this is not directly related to Python, my
> >> opinion is that if the authors will not make past and future papers
> >> freely available, not even an abstract, they should not ask for valuable
> >> free data from freely donated time.
> > Well of course it is your time and your judgement to make, but in my
> > opinion even non-free scientific knowledge is better than ignorance.
> When people boycott a product, it isn't because not having the product
> is better than having the product. That's clearly untrue: despite the
> reasons for the boycott, the product has some value. They boycott it
> because by doing so, they can get something better than <product with
> badness> or <nothing> -- they can get <product without badness>. (At
> least, in theory :)

The world in which we live (and this list's subject in particular)
would not exist without the
idealism of people like rms, linus and specifically GvR.  And yet too
much misguided idealism defeats its own cause.  Specifically I believe
that rms has lost relevance because he's overspent his unquestionable
technical prowess too much on political agendas.

In the age of 'cloud computing,' Tim O'Reilly's  stance on data is
particularly relevant in this (kind of) discussions:

"The market, in short, is no longer for software, open source or
proprietary. Tomorrow's market is all about data."


I have a simple test that I use in my talks to see if my audience of
computer industry professionals is thinking with the old paradigm or
the new. "How many of you use Linux?" I ask. Depending on the venue,
20-80% of the audience might raise its hands. "How many of you use
Google?" Every hand in the room goes up. And the light begins to dawn.
Every one of them uses Google's massive complex of 100,000 Linux
servers, but they were blinded to the answer by a mindset in which
"the software you use" is defined as the software running on the
computer in front of you. Most of the "killer apps" of the Internet,
applications used by hundreds of millions of people, run on Linux or
FreeBSD. But the operating system, as formerly defined, is to these
applications only a component of a larger system. Their true platform
is the Internet.

> Why settle for a terrible situation, when we could be encouraging
> people to do better?

Because there could be non-trivial costs to doing that

> /me has been paying too much attention to the Elsevier boycott
> -- Devin

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